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February 6, 2023

Grantee Partner Spotlight: A Woman’s Way

by Sakina O'Uhuru

The Ms. Foundation is proud to support our grantee partners, who are at the forefront of organizing and creating solutions that improve people’s lives and bring us closer to achieving a true democracy. The insight and perspective they provide is invaluable. The Q&A below was generated by Sakina O’Uhuru, Executive Director of A Woman’s Way.

A Woman’s Way is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing health education aimed at improving infant/maternal health in African-American communities. AWW is a Birth Justice Initiative grantee partner.

What brought you to this work? 

I believe I have been spiritually led to this work. I am a midwife and a midwife educator. My work is grounded in creating harm free, joy-filled, safe, and sacred pregnancy and labor birth journeys for women, people and families.

My grandmother was a midwife who assisted my mother giving birth to me at home. I believe practicing the art of midwifery honors her work and truly is my life purpose. The legacy of granny midwives gives historical relevance to my practice and educational training program. 

How do you connect/collaborate in your community? Key partners?

I connect with my community by creating educational platforms that acknowledge their needs including the voices of women and gender non-conforming people. 

I honor and acknowledge our community by honoring our past and investing in training Black midwives within our communities.

What are you learning or what are you teaching? 

I am learning that reproductive justice is social justice work. I am learning more and more how important it is to acknowledge and validate the voices of women who have been neglected, ignored, and harmed in any way from traumatic birth experiences. This includes family and birth workers who have been subjected to labor room violence; some of whom are currently suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome brought on by past reproductive injustices. 

These injustices have been superimposed upon our LGBTQI community members who have also experienced labor birth trauma and other healthcare violence. 

Tell us about a recent victory or something you’re proud of. 

Recent victories include receiving our 501(c)(3) status for our midwifery training program. Most of all I am very proud of our seven students enrolled in our midwifery training program. 

What can philanthropy do better and/or how can individuals be helpful allies?

Philanthropy can do better by gifting scholarships to the people who are effectively transforming lives and healthcare outcomes. Philanthropy can do better by prioritizing young women, working moms, and students who have a strong desire, will, and determination to achieve their dream and live in their purpose. These scholarships can dramatically transform the community and the midwifery landscape by increasing the availability of Black indigenous midwives of color within African-American and other communities in need of humane dignified healthcare and healing. 

What gives you hope? 

The energetic outpouring from our community surrounding our educational platforms gives me hope. Our youth give me hope. Witnessing the transformation within the lives of women and the families we serve gives me hope.